Donate at the next Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center blood drive. Visit the American Red Cross website; enter sponsor code "7701."
Apheresis is the process of removing a specific blood component, such as platelets, and returning the remaining components, red cells and plasma, to the donor.
This process allows more of one particular component to be collected than could be separated from a unit of whole blood. For instance, through apheresis you can donate as many as two whole doses of platelets ready for transfusion. It takes about six whole blood donations to create one dose of platelets. Each pint of whole blood provides about a quarter cup of platelets.
An apheresis donation takes longer than a whole blood donation. A whole blood donation takes about 10 to 20 minutes for the actual donation, while an apheresis donation may take up to an hour and a half. Apheresis donations are beneficial in many ways. Because apheresis donors provide a larger volume of the specified component, the patient receiving the treatment may be exposed to only one person - not six or more. And apheresis donors can donate more often - as many as 24 times a year for platelets and 12 times a year for plasma.
Who needs apheresis products?
Patients being treated for cancer and leukemia, transplant recipients and patients with blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia, need apheresis products. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments used to treat cancer destroy healthy cells and platelets needed to prevent bleeding. Sickle cell anemia causes red cells to lose their normal doughnut shape and become hard, sticky and shaped like sickles used to cut wheat. They also lose their ability to carry oxygen properly. These sickle cells can clog blood vessels and cause pain, damage and anemia.